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Metropolitan Policy Program Alan Berube, Fellow PowerPoint Presentation
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Metropolitan Policy Program Alan Berube, Fellow

Metropolitan Policy Program Alan Berube, Fellow

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Metropolitan Policy Program Alan Berube, Fellow

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  1. The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program Alan Berube, Fellow Mobility and place: Lessons from the US for the UK Social Mobility and Life Chances Forum HM Treasury November 14, 2005

  2. The USA and UK share similarly low rates of social mobility Overview Highly deprived neighbourhoods may constrain social mobility Targeted policy interventions may help lower place-based barriers to social mobility

  3. Roots of this US/UK Policy Exchange

  4. Social mobility as a cornerstone of American identity • Benjamin Franklin: paragon of American social mobility • 15th child of a candle-and-soap-maker • Started as penniless printer’s apprentice • Retired to life of politics and diplomacy at 42 Do you think it’s still possible to start out poor in this country, work hard, and become rich? YesNo 1983 57% 38% 2005 80% 19% Source: New York Times

  5. “Mobility” can be construed in a number of ways What’s being measured? • Income, wealth, education, occupation, family type, values system • Social scientists gravitate towards the easily measurable (economic) Over what period is it measured? • Intergenerational—comparing children to their parents • Intragenerational—comparing now to 10/20 years ago • Both inquiries are relevant for policy making

  6. Britain and the US exhibit low rates of intergenerational income mobility compared to other developed nations Partial correlations between parents’ and sons’ earnings, by country Source: Blanden, Gregg, and Machin (2005)

  7. This accords with recent US-based research suggesting relatively low rates of intergenerational income mobility Solon (1992, 2004) • Correlation between child and parent earnings ≈ 0.4 • Child born into bottom 20% has 25% chance of achieving median earnings, 5% chance of earning in top quintile • Rate of income mobility remained stable from 1977-2004 Hertz (2004); Gottschalk and Danziger (1999) • Mobility closely associated with race • Poor black children more likely to grow up to be poor adults than poor white children • 17% of whites born into bottom income decile remain there, versus 42% of blacks

  8. Income mobility within generations has slowed in the US, in part because of growing income inequality Income mobility declined Income inequality increased % income growth by family income percentile, 1979-2000 % of families remaining in same income quintile across decade, 1970s-1990s Source: Bradbury and Katz (2002) Source: Mishel, Bernstein, and Allegretto (2004)

  9. The mechanisms accounting for intergenerational transmission of income are largely unexplained Intergenerational correlation in income resulting from “channel” Source: Gintis and Bowles (2002)

  10. Large panel studies are unable to examine role of place; but worth noting large place differences for poor families by race Percentage of poor individuals living in extremely poor (40% poverty rate) neighbourhoods by race, 2000 Source: Jargowsky (2003)

  11. What role might “place”—particularly living in a deprived area—play in determining social mobility? Employment • Create geographic separation from jobs & job networks • Modify social norms around work Education • Reduce access to well-resourced, high-functioning schools • Expose students to negative peer effects Crime • Economic need, lower opportunity costs raise crime levels • Criminal activity lowers future income potential Health • Reduce access to high-quality health care • Physical health problems from substandard housing • Mental health problems from elevated stress levels

  12. American research and policy experimentation have shed light on “neighbourhood effects” Gautreaux Program (from 1976) • Court-ordered desegregation of Chicago public housing • 7,000 low-income families assisted in moving to private housing in racially mixed neighbourhoods Moving to Opportunity (from 1994) • Public housing families in five cities offered opportunity to move to apartments in low-poverty neighbourhoods • Experimental design, significant evaluation HOPE VI relocation (from 2001) • Families relocated from public housing slated for redevelopment, through vouchers or other public housing Other research • Some panel studies track neighbourhood status

  13. What has the US learned? Income and employment

  14. What has the US learned? Education

  15. What has the US learned? Crime

  16. What has the US learned? Health

  17. So…does “place” matter to social mobility? Not as much as individual/family background • Almost all literature agrees on this point May depend on actual gain in neighbourhood quality • Gautreaux not strictly experimental in its design; but participants experienced real change in economic/racial mix • MTO results are “intent to treat”—relevant for policy, but not necessarily a measure of how neighbourhoods “matter” Valuing the qualitative as well as quantitative • Effects explored here discount research on stigma, limited social networks associated with poor neighbourhoods • Day-to-day life in highly deprived areas can be very difficult • Social justice vs. economic grounds

  18. Compared to US, England has smaller proportion, though still significant number, of social housing units in “extreme deprivation” areas England USA Location of public housing units by % neighbourhood poverty, 1990 Source: HUD, 1990 Census Location of social housing units by % in ward on IS/JSA, 2001 Source: NeSS, 2001 Census

  19. #1: Enhancing the mobility of low-income households Portable housing subsidies • USA: Housing voucher holders live in much lower-poverty, safer neighbourhoods than those in public housing Some considerations for the UK • Ability to use Housing Benefit across local authority lines • “High-touch” counselling for benefit recipients • Active outreach to social/private rented sectors • Quantitative/qualitative evaluation of family outcomes • Continued support to prevent “backsliding” into highly deprived neighbourhoods

  20. #2: Fostering greater economic integration Mixed-income communities • USA: The HOPE VI program has helped transform the nation’s most distressed public housing projects into safe, healthy, mixed-income communities • Income mix promotes greater collective efficacy Some considerations for the UK • Targeting overlap between crime, health and economic deprivation in social housing sector • Greater focus on attracting economically active/higher-income households, improving public services in more moderately deprived areas

  21. A better neighbourhood as first step towards longer-term social mobility From New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward (source: Greater New Orleans Data Center) In a poor community, the upward mobility is not there. The aspiration to seek out and have a better life, to have better finances isn't there. Those in poverty don't have money to go anywhere, so they are not stimulated. Their perspective becomes very narrow about possibilities in life. Mostly families here are simply fighting to survive.      —75 year old African American social worker (2003) From a deprived London social housing estate (Source: Page, “Communities in the Balance”) You have to make a decision whether you want to live in a stressful situation all the time or whether you would, perhaps, prefer to move on. I have two children and it is getting to the stage where I have had enough. I really have had enough. —Mother (2000)